Can You Identify This Formula Libre?

Mystery Formula Libre

Reader Mike J is in need of our help, well more specifically he needs the help of the BF Community! You see, he purchased this old race car, or what’s left of it, but he isn’t exactly sure what it is, who built it or who raced it. The previous owner told him it was a Porsche 356 powered Formula Libre car, but he didn’t offer much else to go off of. Formula Libre was a bit of an anything goes class of racing, so identifying one can be a bit of a challenge.

#41 Formula Libre

The tube chassis is definitely well designed and built, but I don’t see to many ways of identifying it, as I doubt there are any identification numbers on it, but perhaps the overall sophistication and design can be helpful. The one part I see that might be the most helpful is the nose, it’s extremely unique. It definitely looks late ’50s or early ’60s to me, which would lineup with the Porsche 356 powertrain.

Formula Libre Rear Chassis

Mike shared with me what info he was able to get out of the previous owner and it might be of some help. From Mike – I bought it from a Porsche guy who never got around to restoring it. He bought it less the 356 Super 90 engine (body position of engine (mid) and existing side air vents are a give away) and then sold the Porsche trans, which was late 1950’s vintage.

Formula Libre Front Suspension

He is closing his office and looking for the lineage. I do not know who built it, but he says it had design input from the Porsche factory through Porsche Northeast. He says he has pictures of the car on the paddock at Old Thompson or Lime Rock Park. The sophistication of the front suspension geometry and care taken to provide grease fittings on all the moving parts leads me to think someone of above average engineering knowledge had some serious time into the design. Even after 50+ years of sitting all the suspension is free! This is all I know and perhaps if someone saw it, could possibly identify it?

Formula Libre Chassis

So what do you guys think? Does anyone remember seeing this car zipping around Old Thompson or Lime Rock in the early ’60s? If so, Mike would really love to hear from you! Even if you didn’t see it racing, but happen to know more about it, please share in the comments section below. Special thanks to Mike for sharing his find with us and I hope you guys can give him some much needed information about it! I also hope he will keep us posted with his progress as he brings this racer back to life.

If you have an interesting find that you’d like to share with the BF Community or you need help finding more information about it, we would love to help!

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Comments

  1. Luki

    Driver/builder was a guy named Alexander Calder.
    It’s known as the Ceiling Hanger.

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    • williamcleary

      Auto+Mobile=

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  2. Joe Nose

    Looks like a Birdcage.

    Literally

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  3. Bill

    When just 10% of whatever it was to begin with is all that remains, the term “restoration” seems a little optimistic.

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  4. ed preusser

    Can you post the picture from the track? I am a member of the VSCCA and have many friends who maybe able to shed some light on the car…

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    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Hi Ed, Mike is working on getting some photos of it racing from the previous owner as we speak. He’s hoping with that with them we can identify what track it was racing at. As soon as he has the photos, he is going to send them over so we can post them. I will be sure to send them over to you! Thanks for the help!

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      • Jim Barrett

        Nice 71-74 spider in the background….

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  5. George

    To Me It Looks Like a Rear Engine Racer in the Formula Libre cars

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  6. Ian

    Try Tam’s old race car site on internet

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  7. AutoArcheologist

    I know several folks who run things up at LRP and unfortunately, admittedly on their own part, they are not very good at record keeping and were not able to shed any light on things for Mike. I also checked through several SCCA archives searching for photos and didn’t come up with anything. However, there are quite a few more sources that can be found I’m sure that may be able to track down down this old racer.

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    • mike juneau

      Thanks AA,

      The kind folks at the Watkins Glen International Motor Racing Research Center,
      Josh & Ed who commented can help if we can come up with a pic to ID the track or other cars raced with. I am the owner Mike and will be getting a 356 engnie and trans for it. Very stout tube frame, thanks Mike Juneau

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    • michael juneau

      Thanks AA,

      The kind folks at the Watkins Glen International Motor Racing Research Center,
      Josh & Ed who commented can help if we can come up with a pic to ID the track or other cars raced with. I am the owner Mike and will be getting a 356 engnie and trans for it. Very stout tube frame, thanks Mike Juneau

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  8. speedster47

    I find the chain steering column most interesting. Love to have it as wall art in the garage

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  9. Frank Opalka

    Red #17 looks like Cooper

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  10. MARK BOYCE

    Number 42

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  11. George

    that is very cool.

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  12. curt

    Due to the flimsy look of the structure, I suspect it to be an early GT DeathTrap 666.
    I raced a 49 Chev Cpe that had about 40 times the crashbar confidence…all around and over me…lol

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  13. Curtis

    Doesn’t look flimsy at all to me. If anything it looks overbuilt for the day. In any event it’s plenty strong. The front suspension and spindles are interesting.

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    • michael juneau

      Hi Curtis,
      Front spindles are from a 356. I own it. Very strong and fairly light. It looks somewhat like the Rutan Special that Wayne Carini has(had?). We think made in the Northeast and the former owner claims had some Porsche factory input on design, wouldn’t that be nice to have documented

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      • rich voss

        Mike – if, in fact, the Porsche factory had any input into the design and/or build of this racer, they have a record of it. They, from what I’ve read, are meticulous record keepers. Have you tried writing them or contacting them on their website ? They have a huge bunch of historians at Stuttgart. I went to the factory years ago when I was in the Army. Yikes. Even better now, from the various stills, videos, and articles I’ve read and seen. I. myself, have never owned a Porsche, but quite a few friends have & I’ve driven theirs. Best of luck finding this racers history…I’ll follow your search.

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      • Dave Wright

        Taken at the factory Museum a year ago

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  14. Bob D

    Hello
    The picture of the #42 car is a Formula 3 (500) car. These vintage cars are still raced in Europe today. They were raced with 500cc twin JAP,Norton and other motors of the day. I don’t believe Michael’s car is an F3 car, as his had a 356 Porsche motor…….unless of course, it was modified with the Porsche motor after it arrived in the U.S.A. ? Do look at the F3 video’s on youtube (Goodwood) , some of the cars do have the extreme forward driver position as Michael’s car.
    Thanks

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    • Michael juneau

      Thanks, I’ll check it out
      Mike Juneau

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  15. michael juneau

    Hi Rich,

    I will have to do some more digging. The P web site is geared towards new cars.
    If anyone has any historical contact inside Porsche, please forward that information.
    Thanks,
    Mike Juneau

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  16. michael juneau

    To Dave Wright,

    Thanks for the photo. Do you have an email contact at Porsche museum?? the Porsche site has no real name for the archives. I would appreciate any lead.
    Thanks, mike Juneau alfaman1966gtv@gmail.com

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    • Mike juneau

      I sent some pics and history to Porsche museum upon their request.
      Thanks,
      Mike Juneau

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  17. michael juneau

    To Dave Wright,

    Thanks for the photo. Do you have an email contact at Porsche museum?? the Porsche site has no real name for the archives. I would appreciate any lead.
    Thanks, mike Juneau

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  18. michael juneau

    To Dave Wright,

    Thanks for the photo. Do you have an email contact at Porsche museum?? the Porsche site has no real name for the archives. I would appreciate any lead.
    Thanks, mj

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    • Dave Wright

      I will see what I can do……….Try Manfred Freisinger (Jr) at Freisinger motor sports in Karlsruhe. I have known him since he was a 6 year old. He took over the business from his dad that I used to deal with. They are world class race car and classic Porsche guys. He speaks great English too.

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  19. Paul

    Try the REVS museum naples Florida. http://Www.revsinstitute.org they have an amazing collection of Porsche background, pictures and cars. A lot of the 1950s stuff from the north east due to the Collier and Cunningham collection.

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  20. Mike juneau

    Thanks
    Shall contact
    Regards
    Mike juneau

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  21. michael juneau

    hi Paul,
    I have contacted rev
    Thanks,
    Mike Juneau

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